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Cats have a specific "manipulative" purr
July 13, 2009 12:12 PM   Subscribe

I see what yer doin' there From the "I already knew this but someone did formal research on it" department: Research indicates cats have a "manipulative" purr which differs from normal/pleasure purring. The manipulative purr is specifically used to get food and attention.
posted by ShadePlant (84 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
I didn't think that a purr meant "I'm happy". I thought it meant "pay attention to me."
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:15 PM on July 13, 2009


I always figured a purr just meant "lulz, I can make this awesome sound nonstop and you can't, and as a cat I enjoy mocking lesser species."
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:19 PM on July 13, 2009 [8 favorites]


Everything a cat does is manipulative.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:21 PM on July 13, 2009 [17 favorites]


So much for the theory that dogs are the only con men among our pets.
posted by maudlin at 12:23 PM on July 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


In other breaking news: water is wet
posted by porn in the woods at 12:24 PM on July 13, 2009


My most manipulative cat (of three) never purrs. Maybe withholding her purring is an alternate form of manipulation.
posted by amyms at 12:24 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah no shit. I'm living in a house with two cats. I've never had a pet before and I'm not particularly good with animals. The moment one of the cats looks at me and purrs I feel bad and feed it if it hasn't been fed. The manipulative furry little bastards.
posted by ob at 12:25 PM on July 13, 2009


My most manipulative cat (of three) never purrs. Maybe withholding her purring is an alternate form of manipulation.

I have two cats, and it's the non-needy one that I'm most eager to please. Maggie naps in my lap and purrs nicely and is always game for a scratch. Berg doesn't usually want to be touched, though, so when he tags me and then flops down on his back for a belly rub, I'm pretty much helpless because my first reaction is to take what opportunities I can to give him affection.

It occurs to me how well he's trained me, but I can't really help myself.
posted by fatbird at 12:35 PM on July 13, 2009


I'm curious as to where the "self-comfort" purr fits into this schemata. I have known cats to purr when they're in pain or frightened as a comfort mechanism. Is that considered "normal" purring by this study? Did they just leave it out?
posted by dlugoczaj at 12:36 PM on July 13, 2009


Purr, schmurr. When mine wants me out of bed, the manipulative fucker starts messing with my glasses on the nightstand. He's run off with them before, so he knows I react to it with some immediacy (I had to call the Mrs. at work to come help me find them, something I never want to have to do again).

He'll be sorry when I'm too blind to find the kibble without my specs...
posted by Graygorey at 12:38 PM on July 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Do they also have soliciting and non-soliciting versions of farting in your sleeping face?
posted by felix betachat at 12:41 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is this manipulative purr the one that involves my leg, his canines and 5:00 am? Because, if so, I'm well aware of it.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:42 PM on July 13, 2009


Not a fan.
posted by HumanComplex at 12:44 PM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


This just in: Cats are assholes.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:50 PM on July 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Graygorey: Get a nightstand with a drawer for said glasses?
posted by ShadePlant at 12:50 PM on July 13, 2009


I have known cats to purr when they're in pain or frightened as a comfort mechanism.

They do. Years ago, I took a stray cat to our local animal hospital. It had broken its leg (a nasty, compound fracture,) by failing to clear a fence, then hung by that same leg for a number of minutes until I got to it and helped it down. Even though it must have been in excruciating pain, it never stopped purring.
posted by zarq at 12:53 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


The "that's a good scratchin' there" purr isn't just lower, it seems to be built on top of a carrier wave around 0.5 Hz. purrrr-RRRRRR-rrrrrrrrr-RRRRRRRRR-rrrrrrrrr-RRRRRRRRR ...

When you're dealing with pets, their environment is people. Dogs had already filled the "trustworthy working companion" niche; cats had to target a different set of needs, namely the human urge to have something to stroke and baby. Rather than pack leader, we are Parent — provider of food and grooming. In turn they meow at us just like they do at their mothers (a trait you don't see much of in adult wild cats) and emulate a baby's cry.

I wonder what needs the humble budgie fulfills.
posted by adipocere at 12:54 PM on July 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think you can hear the manipulative purr here at about 1:28.

(I used to have a cat who would turn on the clock radio EVERY MORNING, at 5 AM, with his butt. After years of being a night owl, I am now capable of completely waking up at 5 AM without setting the alarm. I think it's because I'm still scared to touch the clock radio buttons.)
posted by maudlin at 12:56 PM on July 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


I have 3 cats and Penny is the worst. When she wants something (like food), she does a fast repeated pawing of the bedroom door that wakes me up. If I let her in thinking she just wants to be in the room, she pushes the door closed and paws the inside of the door. If I prop the door open with a shoe so I can go back to sleep, she goes out to the hall which has these old hanging sliding doors on tracks and she paws those, which are *really* loud and bang around in the frame. So then I go try to feed her in the kitchen without my glasses on (because I'm an idiot) and pour the food into the side that has water in it by accident, or bang my knee on the cabinets or something.

And then later my wife, who is never woken up by this, says "If you give in and feed her before it's time to wake up, you're just reinforcing the behavior." The real mind control is that I somehow still like cats after all this.
posted by freecellwizard at 1:05 PM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


The real mind control is that I somehow still like cats after all this.

That's just the wee worms in your brain talking. No need to worry.
posted by bonehead at 1:12 PM on July 13, 2009


That reminds me - the "wee worms" excuse is how my wife got me to change the litter boxes while she was pregnant for 2 of the last 4 years, since it's extra dangerous to pregnant women. Through the magic of inertia, I don't think anyone other than me is planning on ever doing this chore again. I just pretend I'm hunting for buried treasure.
posted by freecellwizard at 1:16 PM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Evil that lives with us doesn't purr. Instead, the Evil just uses a single claw to tap any exposed skin the Evil can access. Tap. Tap. Tap. Pause. Tap. Tap. Tap.

Please note that this is an improvement from the toe chewing that happened when we first brought the Evil home.
posted by onhazier at 1:17 PM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


After 10 years with my husband's hate-filled cat that will only deign to let him pet her (but she's getting old, and won't last much longer), and probably another 10 with the huge, food-obsessed, mentally-challenged, and emotionally needy longhair that I inherited when Mom died...I think I'm going to be done with cats when he kicks it.

Instead of being an old cat lady, I'm going to be an old lady who squirts cats with her water hose for getting in her yard.
posted by emjaybee at 1:18 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just pretend I'm hunting for buried treasure.

Which is exactly how your cat wants things to be.
posted by hippybear at 1:21 PM on July 13, 2009


Get a nightstand with a drawer for said glasses?

I would, but I'm worried it would only result in my cat learning to open drawers, too.
posted by Graygorey at 1:23 PM on July 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


Cat mind control is no match for my tinfoil helmet.
posted by dortmunder at 1:24 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh yes. Our Maine Coon does this. The pur is so loud it feels like it's inside your skull. When that doesn't work, he sends in the little sweet shelter kitty to do the silent meow at us until we concede. Unlike others, this is exactly why I love cats.

Also, we have a dog and he's pretty good at manipulating us as well. They just have different techniques... Or maybe it's just us.
posted by Kimberly at 1:28 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


One of my cats has a research project going on, called: "Hard Round Things–Door Openers or Ornaments?"

Her colleagues think it's daft to experiment with the door-knobs in the hope of finding a way to use them for opening doors, but she will not be dissuaded. This cat has also learned that the manipulative purr is less effective than the irritating cat-yell that she has perfected. Seriously, this friggin cat yells at me. It's downright abusive.
posted by Mister_A at 1:36 PM on July 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


Having acquired my very first cat within six months of my son moving out, I have to plead guilty to the babying/child substitute thing.

I'll probably have twenty of the damn things in a couple of years....
posted by jokeefe at 1:40 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


After 10 years with my husband's hate-filled cat that will only deign to let him pet her (but she's getting old, and won't last much longer)

How old was the cat when you met your husband? Not to scare you, but my wife's other cat, who has bladder issues with comical results, was 10 when we met, and I thought "Well, she won't last much longer". The cat is now 19 and going strong. It's like our vet is injecting her with some kind of cat immortality fluid or something.

Wait. Maybe ... she's UNdead! Of course I don't know how to tell the difference, since both live cats and undead cats are evil, fanged hissing nocturnal beings that enjoy feasting on animal blood.
posted by freecellwizard at 1:42 PM on July 13, 2009


Who was it that posited that cats, weren't really so much another species, as an alien life-form from another planet?


Cos, that dude (or dudette) was so right..
posted by Skygazer at 1:46 PM on July 13, 2009


The manipulative purr is specifically used to get food and attention.

My cat also uses it as an implied threat; "Let me under the blanket now, or I'm going to sit, right here; next to your ear and purr. And I'm going to do it all night long. Good luck with that whole "sleep thing" that it looks like you are going for; we'll just see how that works out over the next eight hours."

Of course, she is a Siamese and therefore likely related to the devil himself.

I'm not sure at what point I abdicated control of my sleep schedule to an animal that weighs less than my boots, but what am I expected to do? Live without cats? Not likely.
posted by quin at 1:46 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


You all have very active cats. Mine can't be bothered to waste energy purring for things while I'm asleep, she just naps on top my nose and mouth until I fix things or suffocate. This is especially inconvenient when she wants me to fix the weather.
posted by jeather at 1:51 PM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


jokeefe : I'll probably have twenty of the damn things in a couple of years....

Four is your basic magic number when it comes to cats. Two boys, two girls. That way they can team up on one another, and then break their alliances, and then team up again, and then for a while it's every cat for themselves, until it's time to sleep in a big cat-pile.

Four.

Not five.

Because at five, you become a crazy-cat-person.

It's in the rules, look it up.
posted by quin at 1:52 PM on July 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


It's in the rules, look it up.

No, no no. It's three! Three is the magic number. Here is how it works. You get one cat. And then after a couple of years you realize "MY CAT NEEDS A CAT." So you get another cat. They battle it out until peace is eventually reached. Then they are buddies. Sooner or later they become old and lazy, so you introduce cute frolicky kitten into the picture, to spice things up.

Then you stop. Because you realize this could potentially go on forever, cats being the total con artists that they are.
posted by contessa at 1:58 PM on July 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


We've referred to this as the uber-purr. One of our cats does it loud enough to wake us up.

The other two simply rely on kitty wrestlemania if they need something at 4 AM.
posted by neilbert at 2:06 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


The other other white meat.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:06 PM on July 13, 2009


Sooner or later they become old and lazy, so you introduce cute frolicky kitten into the picture, to spice things up.

Oh god ... that's why we have three cats. It's obvious in retrospect, and of course now the cute little kitten is now old and fat like the other two.
posted by freecellwizard at 2:08 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I battle this tendency with laziness and an ability to sleep like the dead. I have trained my cats to hear my eyes open in the morning from across the apartment, though.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:22 PM on July 13, 2009


I used to find this amusing. Then I got cats.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 2:36 PM on July 13, 2009


My half-Siamese crap machine just screams plaintively for the deli meats he has somehow trained me to provide in addition to his Iams dry food.
posted by longsleeves at 2:39 PM on July 13, 2009


Manipulative implies they know it's going to work beforehand. One of my favorite Fat Freddy's Cat cartoons: panel 1) cat rubbing Freddy's ankles, 2) Freddy opening can of food, 3) Freddy to housemate "I wonder why cats rub your legs when they want to be fed." 4) Cat [thought bubble] "I wonder why humans feed you when you rub their legs."
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 2:43 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Purring?! Lucky bastards. I get 'neenle-eenle-eet' with the claws at 6am every day: on my face, in my armpit, motherfucker is an artist. If I fling the cat, then the yodeling starts.
posted by everichon at 2:59 PM on July 13, 2009


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by everichon at 3:04 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I still have to sleep with a shirt on, because my cat will attempt to nurse from me if I don't. I don't think that's manipulative, though.
posted by heathkit at 3:16 PM on July 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


One of mine starts getting restless when he wants to go out. First he'll start opening the cabinet under my sink and letting it slam closed loudly. Next he'll start pawing at the venetian blinds which makes an even louder noise. Finally he'll start crying loudly. When I get up he'll sit by the door and keep yelling until I let him out.
posted by mike3k at 3:24 PM on July 13, 2009


One of my cats has a research project going on, called: "Hard Round Things–Door Openers or Ornaments?" Her colleagues think it's daft to experiment with the door-knobs in the hope of finding a way to use them for opening doors, but she will not be dissuaded.

My cat (who now lives with my sister, back in Australia) learned to open doors at quite an early age, by jumping on the handle and using his weight to apply torque to the knob whilst pushing the door frame away with his hind legs like some kind of ninja.
posted by acb at 3:32 PM on July 13, 2009


Cats are lazy, ungrateful, vicious, hedonistic, manipulative, distant little complainers.

I can't think of an animal I like more.
posted by Amanojaku at 3:52 PM on July 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


acb, is your cat a black cat? Or orange? I ask becase my orange cat does this too. Thing is, he learned it from the black cat, though she rarely does it--she apparently trained himso he is the one to get into trouble when we discover the door open (Florida, a/c running).

Strangely enough, our friends, who also have, in some weird synchronicity, orange cats and a black cat, report that their black cat did the same thing.
posted by misha at 4:14 PM on July 13, 2009


Get a nightstand with a drawer for said glasses?
I would, but I'm worried it would only result in my cat learning to open drawers, too.


Our cat, Tweak, learned to open the kitchen drawers. One morning I came downstairs to find a zillion plastic drinking straws on the floor and the kitchen "utility" drawer open. A few days later I came down to find several prescription bottles on the floor (we keep our many Rx's in a kitchen drawer) - actually the noise of Tweak batting them around on the floor in her own version of hockey is what woke me up. It was several weeks later that I discovered her technique - I'd fallen asleep on the sofa and heard a suspicious noise in the kitchen - I stealthily crept into the doorway to see Tweak hanging from her two front paws on the edge of a drawer. She wiggled as she hung and then braced her back paws on the drawer edge below her. After several minutes she'd managed to open the drawer enough to squish her body inside it.
posted by Oriole Adams at 4:14 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Our large main cat (as oppossed to our two emergency back-up cats, with apologies to Dave Berry) is a master of the manipulative purr. He will purr like crazy when you pick him up or when he's wanting attention.

Lately, since that's not been working on me the way is used to, he's mastering the art of hooking a single claw into me and howling.

All in all, I prefer the purr.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:25 PM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Once, our big old black longhair was punished for doing something atrocious. I think we caught her on the countertop chasing the fish or something where she knew she wasn't allowed, so she got the squirt-squirt and a loud "NO!"

She didn't approve.

Later that night, my mother woke up to hear a strange sound. She got up and went downstairs. "CRASH-tinkle-tinkle... ... CRASH-tinkle-tinkle... ..."

The cat had gotten into the cabinets up on top of the stove, opened them, and was pushing out the expensive wineglasses one at a time and watching them fall. When Mom walked in, the cat looked up and met her eyes, and then very deliberately pushed another wineglass out to smash on the floor.

She got locked in the bathroom for the morning while we cleaned up. (And filled that space with ribbonized toilet paper for good measure.)
posted by Scattercat at 4:35 PM on July 13, 2009 [14 favorites]


My cats engage in a strategy to keep me from even getting up.

The moment the alarm goes off or I begin stirring, they come sit in the crook of my arm, on the side toward the edge of the bed, and start a deep comfort purr. It's not agitating at all — if anything, it puts me right back to sleep. They weigh about fourteen pounds each, so I actually have to do some work to extract myself, or even lift my arm to adjust the radio. After I get up. the cats run into the kids' room so they can continue their morning cuddle. Sometimes they'll skip my cuddle and go straight to the kids.

This is not the behavior of a cat who is trying to manipulate you into feeding it. It's more like, "You've ignored me for 7 whole hours, so reassure me that you still love me!"

They also consider your going to the bathroom to be an opportunity to solicit affection from a captive audience.

They're Siberians, btw.
posted by Araucaria at 4:37 PM on July 13, 2009


my cat has been missing since saturday night when she somehow escaped after only 3 weeks of living here and not showing any interest in the outside world. i hope this is manipulation to make me love her more when she finally wanders back through the damn door. because i already love her plenty so that won't change anything.

stupid cat. come back.

posted by flaterik at 4:47 PM on July 13, 2009 [9 favorites]


misha: he's a brown Burmese.

He's quite an intelligent cat, in the sense that he seems to be able to reason causally about his environment, and act on it, in ways one would not typically expect. Once, I was grilling some meat and discarded the foil in the wastebasket. He proceeded to fish it out and took it to his water bowl to dissolve the flavour out of it. And my sister, who takes care of him now, reports that he sometimes tries to wake her up by opening her eyes with his paws, as if he noticed a causal connection between eye openness and awakeness and is running this model in reverse. It's presumably only his lack of opposable thumbs that keeps him from making tools.
posted by acb at 5:05 PM on July 13, 2009 [8 favorites]


Hee, freecellwizard, I know. Evil cats never die. But she was 2 when we met 12 years ago, so I'm hoping she doesn't make it to 16. Because I am a horrible person, yes? But this cat hates all women, and me especially, and has held on to that hate for the whole 10 years we've lived together. She also hates our kid, and all other animals. She actually only likes my husband, not loves him.

Cats are great to tell stories on, but like I said, when both of these are gone, I'm done. No more shitbox cleaning.
posted by emjaybee at 5:07 PM on July 13, 2009


The reason cats purr is because they can't roar:

All Panthera cats have elastic sections on both sides of the hyoid bone, a structure which supports the tongue and its muscles.
An elastic hyoid, combined with fibroelastic tissue on top of the vocal folds, acts like a slide trombone, enabling the big cats to roar.The hyoid of smaller cats is solid bone. These cats can purr when breathing both in and out, but they can't roar.

posted by binturong at 5:17 PM on July 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


Flaterik, I do hope your cat comes home soon!
posted by Fenriss at 5:39 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


skygazer: Who was it that posited that cats, weren't really so much another species, as an alien life-form from another planet?


Hilary Putnam the philosopher speculated (to prove some nomenclatural point not at issue here) that cats were actually alien robots. The paper is called "It ain't necessarily so".
posted by acrasis at 6:11 PM on July 13, 2009


What wonderful comments--love cats! And flaterik, I also hope your cat comes home soon.

Our cat doesn't do the manipulative purr. When she wants us to get up, she systematically knocks things off the bedside tables. As least she used to--she's discovered now that it's faster to start scratching the baby's bassinet. Baby is almost too big for the bassinet, but said cat has decided that the crib is hers and I'm not sure how to displace her. Probably end up buying another crib.
posted by Go Banana at 6:46 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


My cat would come sit next to my face and just... stare... at me. I could feel it in my sleep. She would also do a plaintive meow without opening her mouth, as if she were far too weak from hunger to be able to actually move her mouth muscles.

I lost her two weeks ago today, and I wish she were still here waking me up in the mornings.
posted by OolooKitty at 6:54 PM on July 13, 2009


adipocere: I wonder what needs the humble budgie fulfills.

In my experience, food and entertainment for kitty. :(
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:11 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Amelie, sometimes Marmalade, is our feline alarm clock. If we're not awake when she thinks we should be, she takes it upon herself to knock everything off of the nearest nightstand. Then she climbs over our faces to get to the other one. As I always have at least a dozen books stacked up there, this creates quite a din.

It's not because she's hungry, mind you. We feed the jerks at night to avoid this very eventuality. It's because we're not awake according to her proper Victorian cat schedule. If she were purring the manipulative purr while doling out destruction, I might have already lost my mind.

(Both of my cats have the same middle initial. It's F. Stands for Fuckface.)
posted by sugarfish at 8:37 PM on July 13, 2009


My sympathies Oolookitty.

My cats drive me crazy. In fact, despite his actual name, I call one "The Little Orange Bastard". As an example, he not only shattered a semi-expensive vase within hours of my buying it (to hold birthday flowers my sister sent me!), he chewed through the power cord of my first laptop and (I suspect) caused a power surge that fried my motherboard.

The fact that I have not skinned him alive is a testament to my patience.

My other cat is all sweetness and neediness, which is mostly good, but she has to be touching me at all times when I am sitting. Even if it's just one paw. It's like having a hot, furry growth.

But when they go I will be crushed.
posted by aclevername at 9:16 PM on July 13, 2009


>> Four is your basic magic number when it comes to cats.

Oh, I beg to differ. The rule is 1 cat per bedroom. You live in a studio/1br, you get 1 cat. 3 bedroom house? 3 cats.

Own a Motel 6? BONANZA.
posted by davelog at 9:52 PM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


The reason cats purr is because they can't roar

I remember that from zoobooks.
posted by flaterik at 10:18 PM on July 13, 2009


I've always been a cat person, and after one of my 20+ year old kitties went to chase the eternal field mouse, we brought home a tiny, wee little kitten from the pound to keep my other cat company. Teeny little thing. Fit in the palm of my hands. Itsy-bitsy kitten.

Now, if I lay down, she stretches from my collar bone to my thigh. She's huge. Huge, I tell you.

So...a friend was over for lunch and play date, and as we were talking I said that I thought I might be starting menopause early. She asked why, and I said "well, I seem to have developed nightsweats, I'm insanely hot every morning now. My husband, passing through the room started to laugh.

Turns out, wee kitten waits for me to fall asleep, then spreads her self out over me like a giant fuzzy quilt. And the older cat, not to be left out, spreads out my hair and nests at the top of my head.

(The dogs would get up there too, if they thought the cats would let them.) Home...without all the dander and hair, it would just be a house with all my stuff in.
posted by dejah420 at 12:39 AM on July 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


Her colleagues think it's daft to experiment with the door-knobs in the hope of finding a way to use them for opening doors, but she will not be dissuaded.

Be afraid. I lived with a cat (orange, for what it's worth) who figured out how to pull that off. It was pretty weird to shut the bathroom door, take a shower, and get out to see that door half opened with a hungry cat sitting in front of it. It was nice that he figured out how to open the front door when it wasn't locked, though; that saved me a lot of "getting off the couch" effort.
posted by cmonkey at 1:57 AM on July 14, 2009


One of my late cats was a master of manipulative purring. When a new cat was introduced to the household she was so angry and resentful that she stopped purring for about a year. She would jump on my lap (after a couple of months of actively discouraging any contact) and allow me to stroke her, but nary a purr to be had.
posted by =^^= at 4:04 AM on July 14, 2009


I had a cat who did not meow for the first four or five years of her life. She made "prrp" sounds and when she purred, it was very very soft and sometimes you only noticed it when you were petting her. She lived with another cat who was loud and whiny and purred like a chainsaw when he was pleased with the world, and she eventually picked up his mannerisms. She became insistently chatty and her purr got louder.

They're teaching each other. This is either really awesome, a fearful portent of the revolution to come, or both.

This cat also learned to wake me up by sitting on the bed and tapping my shoulder very much like a person would. And when you live alone, being tapped awake in the middle of the night is quite a surprise.
posted by Spatch at 5:32 AM on July 14, 2009


Sooner or later they become old and lazy, so you introduce cute frolicky kitten into the picture, to spice things up.

Keep doing this (without getting them fixed) and after awhile you don't have to bring in more kittens, they just start appearing out of the woods. We moved to Florida with 22 cats based on this principle. (Or was is 23? Oh, we started with 23 and arrived with 22, Marion had it and took off.)

Observations indicated black cats were more clan oriented, while the orange cats were individualistic. Orange was 'Enterprising' of Holland's Personality Types. Calico's have orange in them but are capable of being more balanced.

Hmm. "Orange fur" vs "manipulative purring" is testable. Except we don't have any more orange cats.
posted by dragonsi55 at 6:02 AM on July 14, 2009


Completely by the by, there are heaps of references to orange cats in this thread whom I assume to be gingers. Is this the term commonly used to refer to this type of cat in American English or are there some colloquial shenanigans going on here which I completely fail to pick up on being down under?
posted by =^^= at 6:19 AM on July 14, 2009


If your cat encourages you to stay in bed, it is because the cat believes you are stressed and/or need more rest. I have had sleeping problems much of my life, and my cat (Toots, the best cat ever) understood that, and would come purr me back to sleep when I awoke in the middle of the night. She did her best to take care of me, really. When we were in earthquakes, she insisted we both go outside, and that's the only time she ever demanded to go out, then demanded I follow! One time she beat up another cat she thought was attacking me (I'd accidentally stepped on its tail, and got majorly hissed at, justifiably so).

Manipulative purr? Can't recall anything like that from Toots. But one time I had a young cheetah purr for me, and that made my year! Cheetahs are the biggest cat that still purrs. Once you have that, you'll do anything to get the cheetah to purr some more!
posted by Goofyy at 6:28 AM on July 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yes, an orange cat is the same colour as a ginger cat. We don't use the term for hair colour, either.

I'm amazed at how many people here have black cats. (I too have a black cat, the ex-foster cat who is too black, too crazy and has too icky eyes to ever be adopted by anyone but a sucker like me.)
posted by jeather at 6:35 AM on July 14, 2009


If our wild calico is in, we shut our bedroom door for the night because we keep our mouse cage in our room and she thinks it's a game preserve. She has learned to jump on the entertainment center in the living room (opposite side of the wall from our bed) and throw things off the top, making loud noises that wake us up so we will let her out. Our tux cat has learned to do this also.

My dear departed Digory did the throw-glasses-off-nightstand thing. If that didn't work, or if she was feeling particularly peeved, she would throw books--or, worst of all, bite through their corners. That little pisser was a book vampire, just because she KNEW it drove me crazy. Every now and then I pull a paperback off my shelves with teeth marks in the cover and enjoy fond memories.
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:21 AM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


an orange cat is the same colour as a ginger cat

Is that terminology regional? Here's another: is this (ignore the title) a "tabby cat" or a "tiger cat?" I grew up in Illinois saying tabby, but seems like everyone in CT says tiger.
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:25 AM on July 14, 2009


Regarding cats opening doors, I had a huge gray cat (male) many years ago that mastered the trick. The new cat is also gray, but not huge. She is female, as I mentioned above.

It's quite eerie when you hear someone messing with your bedroom door at half past midnight, and you rush to the door and there's a loud-mouth gray kitty sitting there.
posted by Mister_A at 8:11 AM on July 14, 2009


"tabby cat" or a "tiger cat?

I'd call it a tabby (and a blissful one at that). Never heard tiger cat before. But I'm in Australia.
posted by =^^= at 2:12 AM on July 15, 2009


Well, the alien in the shape of a cat who showed up at our door and knocked three months ago doesn't seem to need a manipulative purr. He just starts with a very, very quiet meow that gets louder and louder until you open the door. Since him showing up at my door and saying "Me-ow" very loudly was what got him a home in the first place, I guess he figures that works well enough. And boy does it work.

(And for the record, I've always heard "tabby" here in Texas.)
posted by threeturtles at 12:46 PM on July 15, 2009


I call them tabbies in English, tigres in French. It's the polydactyl cats that everyone calls different things: thumb cats, mitten cats, Hemingway cats, demon cats with opposable thumbs who will soon learn to use a can opener, that sort of thing.
posted by jeather at 7:35 PM on July 15, 2009


It's the polydactyl cats that everyone calls different things

I've got one of those. We all him Darwin (because he's evolving, right?*)

Actually, that's not really true. Like all my pets, once named, they are hardly ever actually called that again.

For instance, in the case of this particular thumb kitty, he started as Darwin, and that quite naturally evolved into Starwin, and then Sparwin, and then Stinkwin, and there was a while that he was A Mighty Win, before he was Sporewin, and every once in a while it gets really mixed up and he's Win-dar.

But if I really want to use a term that will bring him scurrying to me from wherever he is sleeping at that particular moment, all I have to do is open the fridge and say in a normal conversational tone, "turkey?"

And that cat will be at my side and howling within seconds.

*: For real. He uses his thumbs all the time to hang onto toys, we call it "Making fists." He justifiably ignores us at this point.
posted by quin at 9:22 PM on July 15, 2009


We have a polydactyl too. I thought about naming her Sissy, after Sissy Hankshaw from Even Cowgirls Get the Blues,, but it didn't seem to suit. She ended up being named for her squawkiness (Maledicta), not for her thumbs.

She's very "handsy." I have seen her use the paws to carry things, like quin's cat, but she also kneads much more than either of our other cats, and likes to pet me. I think she's very focused on her paws; she understands their effectiveness.
posted by dlugoczaj at 6:16 AM on July 16, 2009


I know everyone was very worried, so I am happy to say that my cat finally came back.
posted by flaterik at 7:36 AM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hurrah! That deserves to be in normal, if not larger than normal, font size, flaterik!
posted by jokeefe at 1:14 PM on July 16, 2009


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